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Cambridge, MA, USA | Member Since 2014

  • 4 reviews
  • 23 ratings
  • 250 titles in library
  • 3 purchased in 2015

  • Crusoe's Daughter

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Jane Gardam
    • Narrated By Nicky Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1904, six-year-old Polly Flint is sent to live with her aunt’s in a house by the sea. Orphaned shortly thereafter, Polly will spend the next eighty years stranded in this quiet corner of the world as 20th century rages in the background. Throughout it all Polly returns again and again to the story of Robinson Crusoe, who, marooned like her, fends off the madness of isolation with imagination.

    M. Wilson says: "Terrible reader"
    "Great book, terrible reading"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If it had a different narrator.

    What could Jane Gardam have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Nothing. I love her books.

    Would you be willing to try another one of Nicky Baker’s performances?

    No. She reads the text in a sing-song voice with no animation or inflection, more like a librarian at story hour than an actor giving a performance. Characters aren't given unique accents or voices, other than a generic dropping of the vocal range for male characters. I love Jane Gardam and it was so frustrating to find this book unlistenable. I couldn't get past the second or third chapter.

    Any additional comments?

    Could I have a refund?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Crescent

    • ABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Diana Abu-Jaber
    • Narrated By Nike Doukas, Marcelo Tubert

    Half-Iraqi, half-American Sirine is a cook at Nadia's Cafe, which draws the neighborhood's Arab students, expatriates, and exiles. All are hungry for "real true Arab food" and connection to their homes. One is Hanif Al Eyad, a new hire in the Near Eastern Studies Department at the university who fled Iraq as a young man. Sirine and Han fall in love over food: a baklava they make together, delicate lamb dishes, hummus glistening with olive oil....

    Fran says: "Crescent"
    "Mixed bag"

    I loved *parts* of this book. Its lyricism, romance, humor. The story-within-a-story. The lively characters.

    The food-as-love-and-life theme was pleasant (if a bit cliched: Working in a restaurant is not meditative, gentle work, and some passages border on food porn).

    I found other things frustrating as well. For one, the narrator "voices" Sirine in such a blandly pleasant way that she begins to resemble, well, a dumb American. Why would Han fall in love with such a shallow woman? What does she have to recommend herself outside of her cooking skills and the blonde hair and pale skin that the author describes so admiringly? I lost most sympathy with Sirine about three-quarters of the way in. It doesn't help that the character is written with absolutely no insight into her own actions or feelings. And not just Sirine. None of the characters seem to have much sense of why they're acting as they do. It's as if each is possessed by some external, driving spirit. Was that intentional? It's not my cup of tea.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jane Eyre, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Charlotte Bronte
    • Narrated By Amanda Root

    One of the greatest love stories ever written, Jane Eyre is the tale of a young woman entangled with the powerful Mr. Rochester. What lurks in the attic at Thornfield, the ancestral home of the surly Mr. Rochester? Will the governess Jane Eyre discover his secret, and having discovered it, live to regret that knowledge? Battling inside Jane are passion and prudence; she struggles to survive the turmoil they cause.

    Amy says: "Best ever"
    "Best ever"

    I love this book! Amanda Root is a fantastic narrator...bringing each character to life. I relish my daily commutes, thanks to Jane Eyre. One of my favorite audiobooks ever.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • A Tale of Two Valleys: Wine, Wealth and the Battle for the Good Life in Napa and Sonoma

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Alan Deutschman
    • Narrated By Michael Cerveris

    When journalist Alan Deutschman came to the California wine country as the lucky houseguest of very rich friends, he was surprised to discover a civil war was being fought between the Napa Valley and the neighboring Sonoma Valley. What develops is nothing less than a battle for the good life, a clash between old and new, the struggle for the soul of one of America's last bits of paradise.

    Amy says: "Seems to have been written for the tax write-off"
    "Seems to have been written for the tax write-off"

    Getting through this one was painful. The author wastes pages on ecstatic inventories of the excesses of the Napa "plutocrats" and "decamillionaries." Then he wastes more pages on long not-quite-believable quotes from all the "bohemians" fighting urban sprawl in Sonoma (does anyone really talk in such long, fully-formed monologues?). And in the end, I'm not sure what you end up with. There were no really meaningful insights into that classic struggle to control growth without impeding progress.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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